EuropeItalyRome

Day 1 in Rome, or, "Traveling Insanity"

Rome Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
Mary and I in the Rome train station-- frazzled, but happy
I don't know if this is the best way to travel. We didn't have much time, as we had two days to see one of the most popular tourist cities in the entire world, but I don't know that this insane rushing around thing is really good for one's anxiety levels. Today was a very, very, very busy day. Nikki, who had been to Rome a few months before, recommended that Mary and I take a bus tour to scope out the city. Mary and I are usually against this kind of thing. A guided bus tour of a city’s main highlights for people to safely view a new land without having to interact or adapt, yet still be able to take pictures and say that you’ve “ been to” all these famous places, is something that divides tourist from traveler.
Some market-ness by the train station
However, we only really had two days in which to see Rome, so we sucked up our pride and went on it anyway. After we grabbed our free yummy chocolate croissants and orange juice (which we learned to love), there we were, sitting on a silly bus with silly little red earphones (we didn’t even get to have a real guide...), gliding around the city, feeling really, really American. In the bad way. Even though it wasn’t remotely authentic, we got a good basis of where everything was. We also gleaned a little bit of info about each place, none of which I remember, of course. The architecture of the regular buildings of Rome reminded me a lot of other European cities, but the old, “famous” pieces of architecture were, as expected, unparalleled. Everything was so beautiful, and sooooo big.
The streets of Rome from the silly bus
.. obviously cannot describe it in words.

We made a plan to see as many of the sights as possible on the first day and to save the Vatican and St. Peter’s for the second, and finally got off the bus at Trevi Fountain, which was possibly my favorite tourist attraction... except for the tourists... OHHH geez. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many annoying people in one place. It was really big and really extravagant. It’s hard to take your eyes away from it, as corny as that sounds. Mary and I got some pizza (mmm...) and tried to sift through the clouds to take pictures. There were all these Italian guys trying to sell these little magnetic stones that click together... it was a really annoying noise... I got Mary to take some pictures of me looking fabulous by the fountain to be like La Dolce Vita.
More views from the bus
.. For some reason I’m really excited about doing stuff from movies like that. Silly silly silly. Then we went to the Spanish Steps, which were cool, I guess... but it’s... steps. I guess they are cool for being steps... We “climbed” to the top to see the nice views of Rome. Very pretty. We could see bits of Italian countryside from the top, too, which was refreshing. Then we got gelato. Strachiatella. Which I THINK is chocolate chip. It was good.

Then we got back on the bus and went to the Colosseum. More lines, more tourists. We didn’t take any kind of tour, which might have been a mistake. This place is HUUUUUUGE. It was really neat to see what was underneath the stage where they kept the animals. Mary and I sat here for a while to try to imagine what it would be like to go see a competition here.
something Mary took a picture of
One of the most difficult things about visiting places that are this old is the constant attempt to make your brain wrap around the concept of HOW old they are... what was going on then, how different it must have looked, and also trying understand how I, who am now walking along these same roads, sitting on these rocks that have stood for thousands of generations of people, can possibly relate to this and fit into this ancient picture. It’s troubling. I still don’t know the answer.

We moved on to the Roman Forum, next door. This was exciting for me because of its historical connections to the theatre. Also, very surreal. We tried to stand by some English-speaking tour groups that were passing through so we could learn some bits and pieces about the area.
The Vittoriano (thanks Mark)
Most of this area is in ruins, so it’s hard to say what it all used to be unless you’ve got someone whispering it into your ear the whole time. I picked some leaves from an olive tree here. I really liked this area. Mary and I walked up the hill at the end of the road and found a spring, and drank some water from it. I wonder how old that spring is. Then we took a little adventure down the hill trying to find this church I wanted to find... we got a little lost, but found the Santa Maria Church with La Bocca della Verità, or “The Mouth of Truth.” Again, being a little too excited about fulfilling my movie fantasies (it’s got to be part of the whole acting thing... some people do it with Disney, but I do it with classic film). There is a scene in Roman Holiday when they go to the Mouth of Truth, and Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn take turns putting their hands in there.
Detail on the Vittoriano
So, of course, I made Mary stand in line with me so we could do it too. The myth is that if you are a liar, the mouth will bite your hand off. Mary and I passed the test, fortunately, after a brief photo shoot. Then we went inside the church. It was cool, but you get a little jaded by churches in Europe.

Take a break? Oh no. Pressing onward, trying to cover as much ground as possible, we went to the Piazza Navona, which was pretty. It had a nice fountain. I am not giving all these things in Rome very much credit because we were having SUCH a crazy day that it’s all kind of a blur of awesomeness in my memory. Behind Piazza Navona is the Pantheon, which is what we went to next. It’s that building with all the columns, and is supposedly the best preserved building in Rome.
More cool stuff
The inside has a really cool dome with a hole in the top, which is apparently really neat when it rains. This is also how the building gets its light. Oh, the Romans and their architecture.

Then we did a silly thing and went BACK to Trevi Fountain. This was entirely because of me. I had read somewhere that when you go to Trevi Fountain you are supposed to toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain and make a wish. They say that if you throw a second one in, that means you will come back to Rome. I wonder who “they” is. Again, I am silly, so I am really into that stuff, and I made us go back and throw in two coins a piece.

After this it actually did start raining a bit, and we were exhausted, so we went back to the hostel briefly to change and take showers.
Castel Sant'Angelo, from the bus (again, thanks Mark)
We thought this would be the best time to shower since there was so much competition in the morning and late evening in our ONE shower. Then we wandered around the area by our hostel looking for somewhere to eat dinner. We LOVE Italian food, so even though it was a chore, it was a lot of fun searching around the street menus for our favorite dishes. We decided on this one place that had penne a la vodka, which I am a big fan of. Our waiter was really quiet and awkward. He also didn’t know much English, which made things tricky. This is when Mary and I started getting confused about what “prego” really means, as they seem to use it in many different situations. Here we had the most AMAAAAAZING proscuitto and melon (cantaloupe, in this situation) I have ever had.
The Tiber River. from bus.
It sounds a little weird, but the contrasting tastes of salty and sweet somehow complement each other perfectly. I will never forget it. I love food. Our pasta was all right... I was not impressed by my vodka sauce. I think it might have been here where we realized that one almost always has to pay a sitting fee AND pay for the bread at an Italian restaurant. Lame.

When we got back to the hostel at the end of the day, we chatted with the people in our room-- a guy from Nottingham and his Australian girlfriend, and two Germans. We didn’t talk much, though, because we knew we needed to get up at the crack of dawn the next morning to go to the Vatican Museum. Mary and I tried to flip my mattress over in hopes that it would be less lumpy on the other side. It wasn’t. At least this time I got to borrow some earplugs from Mary so I didn’t have to hear any drunken singing before we got up at 6:00 AM...

cruisedancer says:
That was a fun read, great job.
Posted on: Apr 04, 2008
londonstudent says:
Brilliant blog, and some great photos! The next best thing to being there - I feel quite footsore ...
Posted on: Jun 15, 2007
Amanda says:
Ha Ha - totally!!
Posted on: Jun 13, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mary and I in the Rome train stati…
Mary and I in the Rome train stat…
Some market-ness by the train stat…
Some market-ness by the train sta…
The streets of Rome from the silly…
The streets of Rome from the sill…
More views from the bus
More views from the bus
something Mary took a picture of
something Mary took a picture of
The Vittoriano (thanks Mark)
The Vittoriano (thanks Mark)
Detail on the Vittoriano
Detail on the Vittoriano
More cool stuff
More cool stuff
Castel SantAngelo, from the bus (…
Castel Sant'Angelo, from the bus …
The Tiber River. from bus.
The Tiber River. from bus.
Where Brutus was killed! So cool! …
Where Brutus was killed! So cool!…
Streets from the bus. The building…
Streets from the bus. The buildin…
Pretty. from the bus.
Pretty. from the bus.
A super cool fountain! from the bus
A super cool fountain! from the bus
The Colosseum!!!!!! from the bus
The Colosseum!!!!!! from the bus
The Roman Forum, from the bus
The Roman Forum, from the bus
Mary and I enjoying the touristy i…
Mary and I enjoying the touristy …
More streets, from the bus
More streets, from the bus
St. Peters Basilica! from the bus
St. Peter's Basilica! from the bus
A Piazza (square) with a real Egyp…
A Piazza (square) with a real Egy…
A neat statue by the government bu…
A neat statue by the government b…
TREVI FOUNTAIN! from far away. It…
TREVI FOUNTAIN! from far away. It…
Trevi Fountain a bit closer.
Trevi Fountain a bit closer.
Me being cool version 1
Me being cool version 1
Me being cool version 2
Me being cool version 2
Me being cool version 3
Me being cool version 3
The Spanish Steps!
The Spanish Steps!
View FROM the Spanish Steps
View FROM the Spanish Steps
MMMMMMM gelato
MMMMMMM gelato
Everyone in Rome has un moto
Everyone in Rome has un moto
There were also orange trees every…
There were also orange trees ever…
They have this everywhere, dont t…
They have this everywhere, don't …
Inside the Colosseum!
Inside the Colosseum!
me take 2
me take 2
me take 1
me take 1
Me and the sister enjoying the gre…
Me and the sister enjoying the gr…
Learning is fun
Learning is fun
M&M 1
M&M 1
M&M 2
M&M 2
Some old blocks of Colosseum-ness
Some old blocks of Colosseum-ness
Olive trees (oh so very Greek)
Olive trees (oh so very Greek)
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Lovely flowers at the Forum
Lovely flowers at the Forum
Wisteria growing at the Forum
Wisteria growing at the Forum
Big Forum building
Big Forum building
Poppies amoungst some ruins
Poppies amoungst some ruins
Maureen is not a liar
Maureen is not a liar
So Audrey Hepburn
So Audrey Hepburn
Mary probably thinking Im silly
Mary probably thinking I'm silly
Piazza Navona... The Light in the…
Piazza Navona... "The Light in th…
The Pantheon
The Pantheon
M7M in front of the Pantheon
M7M in front of the Pantheon
The hole in the ceiling of the Pan…
The hole in the ceiling of the Pa…
The inside of the Pantheon
The inside of the Pantheon
This is how I feel about my bed
This is how I feel about my bed
Rome
photo by: vulindlela